The Geneseo Village Board, led by Mayor Dick Hatheway, will forever be known for leading the Main Street community into the largest debacle in the history of Main Street, and we aren’t even close to being out of this hole.
This Village Board dropped the ball on this project from the start, with a lack of communication to Main Street merchants, and an unrealistic deadline that has destroyed the progress of Main Street decades in the making.
Everyone with common sense knew this was trouble from the start, when Nardozzi Paving and Construction was recommended to the Village Board by Bill Davis, the Senior Civil Engineer at the MRB Group, after they bid approximately $800,000 lower than their competitors and showed up with rented equipment.
The headaches began immediately and continue now. Businesses and apartments on Main street find themselves without water and with no prior notice of service interruption. Try running a coffee shop when you don’t have running water to make coffee. Nardozzi Paving and Construction then began leaving debris scattered about, directed traffic without flags, left no safety devices for pedestrians or vehicles, trampled on private property without owners’ consent, and worked recklessly as they speed through Main street with dump trucks and backhoes. The Mayor has sat idly by, allowing the contractors to run rampant and is just now poking around showing concern; far too late.
A portion of this project included the removal of what was believed to have been two underground gas tanks that were left over from a gas station that operated up until the 50s. These two gas tanks somehow grew like a potato plant and became five gas tanks containing thousands of gallons of toxic fluid.
Two businesses, Touch of Grayce and Honey Girl Gourmet are scheduled to reopen this Friday afternoon after being forced to close by the fire at Kelly’s Saloon.
And what do they have awaiting for them to reopen? A giant hole that reeks of old gas, a closed off sidewalk, water that is shut off without notice, dust and debris, no parking for customers, and dangerous traffic and pedestrian conditions with no reasonable safety barriers.
The icing on the cake is that a business on the east side of Main Street has absolutely no idea when the sidewalk will be open or closed. Business owners were never provided a schedule and there has been zero notification pertaining to sidewalk closures.
To start a construction project of this magnitude in July, and expect it to be finished in August, is unrealistic. Not taking the time to inform residents, business owners, and the community is discourteous and unappreciative of what everyone else does on a daily basis to make this community shine.
I get that we needed to replace the water line, we needed to remove the gas tanks. The part I don’t get is the lack of communication and respect to the residents and businesses of Main Street.
If our elected leaders aren’t looking out for us, then who is?